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Before Steven J. Daniels realized his dream of writing his first novel, he traveled the world working in professional sports, law enforcement, commercial aviation, politics and the entertainment industry. The end result is his own unique perspective, which he utilizes in his writing to enthral and entertain the reader. Though conceived during a U.S. vacation trip, Steven J. is a proud Canadian living in beautiful British Columbia with his wife Jill. If he is not working on his latest story, you can find him walking on the beach, grilling a variety of vegetables and animal body parts or indulging in his favorite pastime of pampering his wife like the Queen of Sheba.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Empty Page Syndrome

I have never had writer's block.  Now, I'm not talking about the writer's block from lack of experience or talent or from illness, depression or the end of a romantic relationship.  Those you can deal with yourselves.  

I'm talking about normal everyday garden-variety writer's block where you sit and stare at an empty page.  That kind, I have never had.  What's that you say?  This guy is either lying or he's crazy.  Every writer has faced writer's block.  How wrong you are.

I have never had writer's block because I refuse to expose myself to it.  If my plot freezes and I have no idea what to do next, I refuse to sit and think about it.  That's right.  I leave.  I walk away from it.  Sometimes only as far as the kitchen to get another coffee, other times to my local coffee shop or I read a book, watch TV or go for a long walk.

The point is:  writer's block is not the problem.  Your plot may be.  If you're stymied, your characters are trying to tell you something.  There's something missing in what you've already written or the story is not going in the right direction.  In either case, that's why your characters are all just standing around.  They're waiting for you to figure it out.  It sounds weird, but our characters know the story better than we do.  They know where to go and how to get there.  They should because, after all, they live there.  Here's the best part.  You just have to get out of the way and listen.  They'll tell you.

So go for a walk and think about your plot.  If that doesn't work, go for a walk and don't think about it.  Just walk and enjoy nature, feed the ducks or watch people at the mall or in Starbucks.  You will be amazed at what happens.  Something or someone will trigger a random though that will lead you to a plot twist or an idea you hadn't even considered.  It may not come into your mind right away.  It may hide in your subconscious until it jolts you awake in the middle of the night. 

I hope you give this a try.  It may not work for you, but at least when someone asks if you've ever had writer's block you can look them in the eye and say:  "Writer's block?  Me? No, I'm lucky—never had it." 

Oh, and try to keep a straight face when you say it.